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Making Life ‘Greener’ in Vienna

Vienna Green Expo showcases community conservation options.

On display at the Vienna Green Expo was a battery-powered Tesla sedan Model S with a range of over 200 miles on a full battery, 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, top speed 120 mph … need more be said?

On display at the Vienna Green Expo was a battery-powered Tesla sedan Model S with a range of over 200 miles on a full battery, 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, top speed 120 mph … need more be said? Donna Manz

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The Thoreau Middle School Green Eagles are adopting out spider plants.

There were three hybrid cars outside the Vienna Community Center the evening of April 18 and one electric car: Pulling up the rear of a line made up of a Chevy Volt, a converted Prius and a Nissan Leaf, was a Tesla, America’s only consumer-battery-powered four-door sedan. Children and adults crowded around it, even sitting in the vehicle. This was no ordinary Thursday night at the community center. This was the 5th Annual Vienna Green Expo, an exhibition focusing on ways local residents can strengthen their own ecological conservation efforts. Businesses, civic groups, government-allied agencies and school groups demonstrated tools to make lives “greener.”

Three local businesses recognized for green practices.

During the 5th Annual Vienna Green Expo on Thursday, April 18, three Vienna businesses were recognized for incorporating green practices into their business. The Vienna Town/Business Liaison Committee awarded Maple Avenue Market, Vienna Paint and Caffe Amouri with the 2013 Vienna Green Business Recognition Award.

  • Maple Avenue Market, 128 Maple Ave. E., is a small, family-owned local food store and was recognized for its role in educating the community on where food comes from and where it should come from. Their wide variety of offerings includes local meats, dairy, produce and specialty items, most of which are organic or naturally grown.

*Vienna Paint, 203 Maple Ave. W., was recognized for its use of the environmentally friendly paint tint called Natura, a zero Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) product. In addition, they actively take measures to discard non-usable paint in an environmentally friendly way and donate miss-tinted and discontinued paint to Habitat for Humanity.

  • Caffe Amouri, 107 Church St. N.E., has incorporated several environmentally focused practices into its business including using wood coffee stirrers or fettuccini stirrers and cold cups made from compostable corn products. In addition, they provide coffee grounds to customers for use in compost piles and gardens and have implemented a single stream dumpster that is used for all of their waste except for food.

“There are lots of things that both the town and its residents can do to make Vienna a more sustainable community,” said Community Enhancement Commission Chair Susan Stillman. “Sometimes, it is overwhelming and one doesn't know where to start. An event like the Vienna Green Expo gives a smorgasbord of opportunities for learning.”

Vienna Town Council member Edythe Kelleher thought up the idea for a community green expo more than five years ago and it was at that time the Town Council voted to change the scope of the Community Enhancement Commission to include "sustainability" for the town and the town's residents. The Department of Parks and Recreation, under Director Cathy Salgado, executed the concept, growing the expo a little each year. Sustainability, explained Stillman, means using fewer non-renewable resources so that future generations will have these resources for their use.

EXHIBITS in the community center’s gym ran the gamut from school science and Eagle Scout projects to bicycling, from natural resource conservation and protection to businesses that offer energy audits and geothermal heating and cooling. Hundreds of people walked through the hall during the evening, asking questions and picking up brochures.

Bike shops showed off the latest in bicycle concepts, from foldable bikes to a long, tail cargo bike, what Bikes@Vienna owner Tim Fricker called a “stationwagon on two wheels.”

The Town of Vienna, in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, would like to see the whole community turn into a wildlife habitat. For a community surrounded by woods and streams, it’s easier than you think.

The Community Enhancement Commission runs the native plant sale and sustainable house and garden tour in mid-September.

The Vienna Green Expo is, perhaps, the most well known of the commission’s events. “Bringing all this information together in one location on one night is a great service that the town provides to our residents,” Stillman said.

And about that Tesla: The owners wanted a car solely battery-operated, no hybrid. Surprisingly, there is lots of space in the car because the battery is beneath the seating area. With no engine, additional storage space opens up. And … the family waited three to four years for delivery on their $85,000 vehicle, which they actually purchased online. “It was worth the wait,” the owner said.

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David Godwin [left] and Mark Logan talk to visitors at their table about the Watt Watcher Initiative and the top “phantom” [or vampire] energy users.

THE VIENNA GREEN EXPO was sponsored by the Community Enhancement Commission and Vienna Department of Parks and Recreation.

Green Expo vendors included: four vehicles—the Chevy Volt, converted Prius provided by Jim Lemon, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla; local schools—Louise Archer, Vienna Elementary School Garden, Madison High School, Marshall High School, and Thoreau Middle School; non-profits/community groups—Community Enhancement Commission, Northeast Vienna Citizen Association [NEVCA], Master Naturalists, Ayr Hill Garden Club, Boy Scouts David Goodwin and Mark Logan, Vienna Farmers Market, Vienna Bicycle Advisory Committee, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, LEAP, Coalition for Smart Growth and Sierra Club; businesses—Bikes@Vienna, Spokes, Home Energy Medics, Home Performance Solutions, John Nugent and Sons, Edge Energy, Peabody Architects, Peter Henry Architect, Prior Unity Garden, Forever Green Recycling, Inc., and Ecobeco; government partners—Vienna Parks and Recreation [landscape and arborist services], Fairfax County Public Works Department, Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project and Fairfax Connector Buses.